Creative Assembly has offered pre-order incentives, in the form of extra units and playable factions, since Napoleon: Total War in 2010. It's always been unpopular with certain parts of the fanbase, but I don't think we've ever seen a reaction quite like the one following the news that Total War: Warhammer's Chaos Warriors would face the same fate.
The DLC's announcement trailer has been bombarded with dislikes and angry comments, now numbering in the thousands, with some players threatening to boycott the game in protest.
Pre-order DLC is rarely welcomed with open arms, but in this case there's a little more to it than that. Firstly, the Chaos Warriors are one of only five playable races that come with the launch of Total War: Warhammer. Most Total War games have tens of factions for the player to control, which has perhaps made DLC-exclusives a little easier to accept in the past.
And then there's Rome 2. It's been almost three years since that game was released and it's post-release support was exceptional, but fans still remember its disappointing launch. Total War: Rome 2, it's worth noting, was the most pre-ordered game in the franchise's history.
In response to this outcry, Creative Assembly made a surprise announcement last week, in which they extended the Chaos Warriors pre-order incentive until a week after the game launches. This means anyone who buys the game before 31st May gets the DLC for free.
Clearly, the studio realised it made a mistake, but at least in hindsight, it seemed such an obvious one. Are pre-order incentives so valuable to publishers, that it's worth risking the developer's reputation with its own fanbase? Do the Chaos Warriors, as a playable race, exist only because they're premium DLC?
Join me in the video below as I put these questions and more to Creative Assembly brand director, Rob Bartholomew. He's refreshingly open in our conversation, admitting Creative Assembly "completely understand" that the studio needs to build back its fans' trust.
"We think that eventually we're going to get onto that kind of even keel, where people see new Total War content as an unequivocally good thing," said Bartholomew, before a slight pause. "That might not be possible with today's internet, necessarily."
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